9 Myths Recruiting Services Would Like You to Believe
There is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about what recruiting services can do and the value of their services. If you google recruiting services you will find very strong opinions and agendas. Here is what you will find:
- Recruiting services will sell themselves and their worth. They will play heavily upon your emotions.
- Great reviews from parents who sing the praises of the recruiting service they used. Their child found their dream school.
- Very negative reviews from parents whose teens did not receive the outcome they were hoping for.
- Lots of outside commentary that is titled something like: The good, the bad, and the ugly
In future articles, we will look at different aspects of recruiting services, including some positive reasons to consider using one. However, today we are going to explore common myths that Recruiting Services perpetuate to get you to spend money on their services.
Myth 1: Your child’s future is hanging in the balance.
Recruiting services will manipulate your emotions and give you a good dose of fear that your child’s entire future is at stake. You will see scare language on recruiting service pages like this one I pulled from a recruiting services website.
“YES, it can be expensive but you have to balance the cost against your child’s future, not just their athletic future but their career prospects after college.”
You will hear directly and through implication these thoughts: How can you possibly damage your child’s future? What kind of parent would you be to refuse to pay the cost, no matter how expensive it is?
You need to take a deep breath and keep your worst fears about failing your child at bay. Let’s look and see if these claims are legitimate. If they are, you better sign up for a service by tomorrow. If not, what are your options?
Myth 2: Recruiting services have access to people and coaches that you don’t.
If you have the internet, you have access to every college and every college coach. College coaches are notorious for being easy to find both an email and a phone number for. Why? Because they want to hear directly from potential student-athletes like your son or daughter. It’s as easy as 1-2-3.
- Search for colleges by region, interest, or type of school.
- Go to the team’s home page
- Click on the coach’s name. And like magic, you can call and/or email the coach.
Myth 3: Recruiting services are connected to coaches personally.
Some recruiting services have a few contacts in the college world. They certainly don’t know everybody or even more than a few coaches. It is not possible and coaching changes happen frequently so there are always new coaches. If a recruiting service is relying on their connections, you will have a very small handful of schools that they will guide you toward. If you trust in a company that claims connections, you will most certainly miss out on many great opportunities.
Who does a college coach want to deal with, a recruiting service or the athlete who is interested in their school? College coaches don’t have any interest in speaking with professional recruiters. Every time they will choose to speak with the individual athlete who is interested!
Myth 4: The fee you pay now will be made up by the incredibly large scholarships your child will receive.
You will be told that trading a couple of thousand dollars will get you scholarships worth $10,000, $20,000, $30,000, or more per year. Paying a recruiting service $2,000-$3,000 now could save you over $100,000 over the next four years.
Colleges are already awarding “award” packages that include academic, merit-based, federal aid, etc. Recruiting services making claims of how much they will save you include these numbers though they have nothing to do with them. The last private school I worked at had a $10,500 discount rate, which meant that the average student received an award package of $10,500 per year. Wow, the college saved the average student $42,000 over 4 years. $10,500 being the average, half of the students received larger financial packages. For more on a discussion about what you owe is what really matters, check out this article: Scholarships Are Great, But How Much Will You Actually Pay?
Claims about how much money a recruiting service can save you are misleading or even dishonest. They don’t account for how well you would have done without their services. Quite possibly you would have done just as well.
Myth 5: Every option and school is open to you through a recruiting service.
Recruiting services have biases and limitations. They have areas and schools they are more comfortable with. You will be at the mercy of where the recruiting service guides you. What if they guide you toward two good options, but miss the great option you would have found on your own?
Your recruiting service “mentor”, “college scout”, “recruiting coach” or whatever they want to be called will probably be a former college athlete, in their early twenties. They will have little knowledge and wisdom beyond what their college experience was like and what the company has taught them. Turnover is high in this business, so expect your “expert” to have less than 3 years of experience. A former Division 1 athlete will probably guide you toward Division 1. A former Division 3 athlete will tell you how great Division 3 and small colleges are. They will guide you to what they are comfortable and familiar with.
Myth 6: Recruiting services will do everything for you. You just need to sign up, pay your money, and offers will come rolling in.
This myth is not so much presented by recruiting services. It is perpetuated by parents who want to pay money and hand off their obligation to put in the hard work. All reputable recruiting services will tell you that they can help and guide, but to be successful the parents and athlete need to work to open up opportunities.
Recruiting services cannot improve your child’s grades, test scores, talent, work ethic, and likeability, etc. They can only present who your child is and help wrap them up into the best package they are able to. This will only get you so far. Once coaches discover who your child is, they will either recruit them or dismiss them. You don’t need a recruiting service for either of these options to happen.
Myth 7: Emails sent by recruiting services get the attention of college coaches.
Don’t be fooled that college coaches are looking at the emails and communication from the recruiting service. They are not. To coaches, these are spam email that quickly get deleted. If the first sentence of the email even sounds like a form letter, coaches delete them.
Coaches receive hundreds of these a month from multiple recruiting services. Again, you need to know these are no better than spam in the eyes of a college coach. The recruiting service may tell you hundreds of coaches are viewing your email and profile. They will even tell you how many coaches have viewed your email. Many emails show as viewed when they are scrolled through. It does not mean your email has been considered or read.
For the sake of argument, let’s pretend there are some coaches out there who do use recruiting services and look through the emails sent to them and the hundreds of profiles listed on the recruiting service. What makes you think your child’s profile is the one that would stand out?
Myth 8: College coaches are getting their recruits from parents who have paid money to get noticed through recruiting services.
Most things in life and sports seem to be an arms race. Whoever pays more has the most access and opportunities. Not true with recruiting. There are a few college coaches who look at recruiting sites for athletes. This small group of coaches would include first-year coaches and coaches struggling to recruit anyone who can walk and chew gum at the same time.
Most college coaches have their own networks. They also rely heavily on athletes who contact them personally and develop relationships with them. College coaches don’t have the time to search through databases of athletes who are probably not a good fit or look at emails from athletes that have been sent to a hundred coaches.
Myth 9: Recruiting services will tell you how many college coaches subscribe to their services.
Many college coaches will be listed as subscribing to a recruiting service. There are three reasons for this.
- A recruit contacts a college personally, the coach becomes interested in the athlete. The athlete sends a link to their profile on the recruiting service website. The coach must register to look at the profile. So the value of the recruiting service is they hold a link with your athlete’s profile.
- A college coach attends a Showcase that a recruiting service is sponsoring. The recruiting service and the Showcase work together to get parents to sign up for the recruiting service (an affiliation in which money is changing hands). Coaches register for the Showcase and receive information about the athletes. These athlete profiles are stored on the website of the recruiting service. Again the coach’s name becomes linked to the recruiting service.
- Total dishonesty. Some recruiting services will list all the colleges and coaches they work with. They don’t have a relationship with all these colleges. They have an open-source internet and are able to make a database of emails and phone numbers for every college coach in the country. In my research, I came across a recruiting service that claimed to have so many thousands of connections with a certain college sport. Funny thing was, their number of contacts was far greater than the number of colleges in the U.S. I wish I had jotted down that link to share with you.
Fact: Recruiting services don’t generally tell you the price upfront.
They lead you down a path that once started is more difficult to say no to when the price is revealed. Here is an example from NCSA, one of the most reputable recruiting services (I have done an interview with NCSA and like the people over there. If I were to recommend a service, this would be one the ones I would have you consider).
Click on this link from the NCSA website and you will see the list of four packages and the services each provides. At the bottom, you will see dollar signs. I encourage you to click on one of the packages to see the beginning of the road they lead you down. They work in much the same way an insurance company does. You probably won’t receive a price until they contact you. They will then make you will feel like you can’t live without it and you will be more likely to put it on your credit card.
How much is a recruiting service going to cost you?
The typical range is $1,000 – $5,000 though you may find some services cheaper or more expensive.
Payment plans. Recruiting services who are charging several thousand dollars for their service realize most parents can’t pay it in a lump sum. Welcome to the payment plan. If you need a payment plan, maybe you should rethink how necessary this really is. Put in the work yourself and save your money.
What is the reputation of the recruiting industry?
USAtodayhss.com gets it exactly right when they say: “Let’s be honest, the recruiting service industry doesn’t have a pristine reputation. Many recruiting services try to convince well-meaning parents and naïve student-athletes that recruiting is something that it isn’t. The process seems overwhelming, so many companies try to capitalize on that by using high-pressure sales tactics and making promises based on little or no information. Ultimately, they oversell and under-deliver.”
The best thing you can do…Educate yourself
The recruiting process can be daunting and overwhelming. What you do need to do is what you are doing now by reading this, educating yourself.
There are some recruiting services out there that can help you. A good recruiting service will educate you on the recruiting process. They will hold your hand and make sure you are doing what needs to be done. The education is what you are really paying for.
Why you should use a recruiting service?
You are paying primarily for the education. Information gathered for you can be an incredibly powerful tool to have at your disposal. A reputable recruiting service can package the information so it is relatively easy to follow.
Secondarily, you are paying for someone to hold your hand. A good recruiting service will have you do most of the work, but they will guide you through each step of the process. They will be available to answer your questions along the way.
The third reason a recruiting service may serve you well is by performing a service such as video editing or helping you format the athlete profile. Performing a service that you don’t have the expertise or time for is valuable.
The worth of a solid recruiting service is a good education and some hand-holding through the process. If you are looking for much more, you may want to think again.
Why you should just do it yourself.
The real way to get recruited is simple: Take responsibility for your family’s own recruiting process, educate yourselves, and put in the work it takes. Though it seems confusing when you start, it is not rocket science. To be successful, though, like anything, you and your athlete have to put in the work to turn their dream into a reality.
Disclaimer: I sell How to Get Recruited, a step-by-step plan to help you through the recruiting process. 90% of the information is free on trc.simplethingsbyally.com. The cost is $79. I created the How to Get Recruited for those of you who are confused and just need direction but don’t want to spend thousands of dollars. It will give you the education a recruiting service would, but it won’t do the work for you. Getting recruited is up to your family. Nobody cares about it more. Take control, educate yourselves, and put in the work to give your athlete a chance to live out their dream to compete at the collegiate level.
How to Get Recruited Guide will give your family a step-by-step plan to get recruited.
How to Get Recruited: Got Talent. Get a Plan. Get Recruited.
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Here is another great article for parents: Little Known Secrets About Athletic Scholarships.
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P.S. Come join our Facebook group, The Recruiting Code. This is the place to be for parents and coaches to talk about college recruiting. Come learn from each other, share stories and get information that will help your child become a college athlete.